*A previous version of this story misidentified the dates of some photos. The headline has been updated to encompass both the 1960s and 1970s and some dates have been corrected.

The swinging sixties and seventies were full of psychedelic colours and modular designs, and the explosion of unique architecture, cars and culture didn’t skip the Peg.

Check out the photos below for a taste of what Winnipeg was like during the grooviest decades in history.

The Legislature Building and Osborne Village, ca. 1975

Winnipeg 1960s Legislature Photo: Paul Clerkin/Flickr

Winnipeg’s first shopping centre opened in 1959, kicking off a string of new development throughout the 1960s and 70s, including a new convention centre, hotels, banks, office buildings and more.

Portage and Main, ca. 1968

Winnipeg 1960s Photo: University of Manitoba Library

During the 1950s and 60s, architectural styles were rapidly evolving. The City of Winnipeg knew that it had to update its infrastructure as new styles and techniques developed, all while retaining the old-world charm and regal look of the city’s first few buildings. One of those structures was the Bank of Montreal. Built in 1913, the well-known Winnipeg landmark was in need of repairs by the mid-century mark. A few of the changes made to the building included new offices, lights, large windows, air conditioning and contemporary glass screens.

Demolition of City Hall, ca. 1962

Winnipeg City Hall Demolition Photo: City of Winnipeg

Another infrastructure update of the 1960s was the construction of a new City Hall. However, not everyone agreed with the city’s decision to overhaul the old building. Some groups in the city tried desperately to save the historic structure by suggesting it be converted into a museum or a library, but to no avail.

City Hall, ca. 1965

Winnipeg City Hall Photo: University of Manitoba Library

The new building was completed in October 1964 at a cost of $8.2 million. The new City Hall had a more modern, sleek look than its predecessor, and today, still stands as one of the city’s most noteworthy landmarks.

Downtown Winnipeg, ca. 1966

Winnipeg downtown 1960s Photo: Nick Morozov/Flickr

During the 1960s, Winnipeg’s population boom was slowing down significantly for the first time since the late 19th century. The municipalities surrounding Winnipeg were growing with new immigrants, causing the population of the city centre to decline. In 1966 the city’s population was 257,005, and today it’s 663,615.

Winnipeg blizzard, ca. 1966

Winnipeg Snowstorm Photo: Imgur

The infamous Winnipeg blizzard of 1966 was so bad that all the buses in the city stopped running and healthcare workers could only get to work via snowmobile. The headline in the Winnipeg Free Press on March 4th, 1966 read “Wild Blizzard Rakes Province — Worst in History.”

Portage and Main, ca. 1962

Winnipeg Portage Main Photo: University of Manitoba Library

In 1972, Winnipeg and all the towns surrounding it like Charleswood, Fort Garry, North Kildonan, Old Kildonan, Tuxedo and more were amalgamated into a so-called “Unicity.” The new formation had a city council of 51 members and a population of about 500,000.

Looking east along Portage Avenue, ca. 1969

Winnipeg Portage Avenue Photo: University of Manitoba Library

The Richardson Building, which can be spotted in the background of this photo, is a 34-storey office building at the corner of Portage and Main. In February 1967, the company announced that it would be constructing the building, and it was completed in 1969. When it was first built, the structure was the tallest building in Western Canada. Today, it is the second tallest in the city.

Winnipeg International Airport, ca. 1964

Winnipeg International Airport Photo: University of Manitoba Library

In 1928, the Winnipeg Flying Club opened an airfield just outside of the city. The occasion was a big deal in the province, and it was marked by a two-day ceremony and a speech delivered by then Alberta Premier John Bracken in front of a crowd of 7,000 people. In 2006, the airport was renamed Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport to honour James Armstrong Richardson, a businessman, cabinet minister under Pierre Trudeau and a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Looking east along Grant Avenue, ca. 1967

Winnipeg Grant Avenue Photo: University of Manitoba Library

In 1913, there were only a few thousand cars registered in Winnipeg, but by 1957, that number had reached 92,000. This influx of cars in the city changed the face of the transportation system as people became less reliant on streetcars and buses. Streetcar service in Winnipeg ended on September 19th, 1955 when the Winnipeg Electric Company closed down and sold its cars for scrap.

1560 Main Street, ca. 1965

Winnipeg Main Street Photo: University of Manitoba Library

Perth’s Dry Cleaners was founded over 100 years ago and is still going strong today. It began as Portnoy Brothers Cleaners when Russian immigrant Nathan Portnoy started his own business after returning from serving in the Second World War. Portnoy ended up changing the name to Perth Dye Works, which comes from the birthplace of Pollards, a company that dyed clothing darker to conceal stains before dry cleaning became a more widespread practice. Today, there are 17 Perth’s locations in Winnipeg and they employ 90 people.

Portage Avenue, ca. 1960

Winnipeg Portage Avenue Photo: ReadReidRead

The 1960s in Winnipeg was a great time for music. Bands and artists like Neil Young, Bachman-Turner Overdrive and The Guess Who all came out of Winnipeg in this era.

Portage Avenue, ca. 1960

Portage Avenue Winnipeg Photo: University of Manitoba Library

Christmastime in Winnipeg is such a beloved time that it inspired the poem by “In Winnipeg at Christmas.” Rose Fyleman. The poem begins, “In Winnipeg at Christmas there’s lots and lots of snow/Very crisp, and clean and hard/And glittering like a Christmas card/Everywhere you go;”

Portage Avenue, ca. 1969

Portage Avenue Winnipeg Photo: University of Manitoba Library

In 1905, Eaton’s opened its first store in the Praires, changing the streetscape of Portage Avenue forever. Throughout its long history, Eaton’s made a huge impact on the lives of so many Manitobans, continuing to pay the wages of its employees at war and employing 3,000 people up until it closed in 1998.

Winnipeg International Airport, ca. 1964

Winnipeg International Airport Photo: University of Manitoba Library

This distinctive art piece decorated the walls of the Winnipeg International Airport for almost 50 years, and has since found a new home at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa. For half a century, the art piece showcased the glamorous feel of flying and the modern, colorful vibe of the 1950s and 60s.

Developments featured in this article

More Like This

Facebook Chatter